Old is new again
GREENWICH — When the doors opened to the Rummage Room on Tuesday morning, there was a special buzz in the air.
One month after the consignment shop closed for its traditional summer break to restock and refurbish, new items filled the shelves and racks, which brought out the crowds.
“It’s a very exciting day,” Rummage Room manager Leanne Meyer said. “We love to see our regulars come back. They miss us and we have some people who come in on a daily basis. It’s a lot of fun. It’s fantastic to see and the more people we get and the more money they spend, the more we can donate.”
With Tuesday’s reopening, The Rummage Room, which is located at 191 Sound Beach Avenue, began its 54th year. What debuted as an annual rummage sale for the First Congregational Church has turned into one of Old Greenwich’s best known businesses.
But if the store has outgrown its humble beginnings, it has not lost its mission of donating proceeds to charity. Since it opened in 1964, the store has donated more than $4 million to local, national and international charities, according to its website. It is owned and operated by The First Congregational Church’s Women’s Fellowship, whose allocating committee makes the decisions about which 50 charities — many with a focus on women and children — will share in donations each year.
In Greenwich, beneficiaries have included Kids in Crisis, Neighbor to Neighbor, the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and YWCA Greenwich’s Domestic Abuse Services.
The store is run by volunteers, an effort Meyer said involves close to 60 people of all ages, including kids from Greenwich High School.
“This is a community effort,” Meyer said. “They do all sorts of jobs here. It’s mainly working behind the counter and pricing items, and we also need sorters to go through and organize ... It takes a lot of time. Sometimes we get people dropping off 10 bags of donations at once.”
Clothing and shoes made up the bulk of the merchandise available Tuesday, along with glassware, plates and kitchen items, but there were also toys, vinyl records, board games, art and even lava lamps and Cabbage Patch Kids.
“These are people’s treasured possessions and they’re being given a second life,” Genevieve Howe, a resident of backcountry Greenwich, said on Tuesday while shopping. “The prices here are always so reasonable. … I really enjoy thinking about the previous owners of these items. A lot of this stuff here is treasured and it ended up in a junk drawer, which is kind of sad but now it can live on. I love that.”
Howe, a graphic designer, says she loves to come on the opening day to look for vintage items like stationary and wallpaper as well as clothing. Another regular on hand on Tuesday was Nancy Fischer from Cos Cob who tries to come once a week.
“I love the high-end clothes,” Fischer said. “Everything is in great condition and there’s such great prices. You’re going to find all the high-end names here for clothing, and I love the bric-a-brac too. I’m happy it’s going to a good cause, too, and I couldn’t wait for it to be opening day to come back here.”
Now that the store is reopened, The Rummage Room will once again be accepting donations — 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The store’s business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.